What Does Sustainability Mean?

February 29, 2024

Sustainability is an integral part of Placon’s mission of creating a circular economy through the use of recycled plastic in our packaging. However, the term “sustainability” can be vague and mean different things to different people, so it’s good to come up with a baseline understanding of what it is and how plastic recycling can play a key role.

The three pillars of sustainability:

Environment (planet): For many, sustainability means being a good steward of the planet, keeping the water and air clean, not over-extracting natural resources, and preserving habitat for animals. When it comes to businesses, this means reducing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, not contributing to climate change, and responsible sourcing of materials for the goods and services they produce.

Economic (profit): While the idea of sustainability is generally altruistic, there can also be a profit motive to pursuing it, as well.Sustainable practices, like recycling and using alternative energy sources like wind or solar, can generate jobs, start new business, and help the economy to grow.

Social (people): Lastly, sustainability can refer to promoting fairness and ridding the world of unfair social structures, poverty and injustice. This is often tied to promoting civil and human rights which for businesses can mean giving back to the community, diversity and equity programs, and paying employees a living wage.

The goal of sustainability is to balance all of these (planet, profits and people), as they are often dependent on one another for success. According to the EPA, “sustainability is based on a simple principle: everything that we need for our survival and wellbeing depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations”

It’s critically important to take into account the views of all stakeholder who represent the three pillars of sustainability because doing so brings in viewpoints from different perspectives, leading to consensus and better solutions to the world’s problems.

Where does plastic fit in? Plastics are a key part of creating a more circular economy and a sustainable planet. Recycling and reusing plastic, which is a safe, cost-effective material that is used extensively in the advanced and developing world, is an important aspect of sustainability that can help us reach our goals of creating a cleaner, greener world.



Explainer: What Is Sustainability and Why Is It Important? | Earth.Org

3 Pillars Of Sustainability Explained (Guide & Examples) – Sustainability Success (sustainability-success.com)

Environmental Sustainability: Definition, Examples & More | Inspire Clean Energy

What is Sustainability and Why is it so Important? – TWI (twi-global.com)


For 55 years, Placon has been a leading designer and manufacturer of custom and stock plastic packaging for the food, medical, and retail markets. Placon has manufacturing operations in Madison, WI; Elkhart, IN; Plymouth, MN; and West Springfield, MA, and currently ranked in Plastics News 2020 Thermoformers Ranking Top 20. Placon delivers packaging breakthroughs that inspire better engagement between people and products with industry leading innovation and award-winning packaging designs. For more information, visit www.placon.com.